Witches help lift Sweden’s job loss curse
Skinny models are a ‘turn off’ in advertising, claim scientists
Japan’s Latest Fashion Has Women Playing Princess for a Day
November 25, 2008
Sweden’s The Local reported last week that despite a slow economy, Häxriket i Norden is looking to hire 20 new witches for work around the country. And the UK Telegraph reported researchers have found that skinny models are a turn off to consumers. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that the latest trend in Japan has women playing “princess for a day,” as more Japanese women aim to look like sugarcoated, 21st-century versions of old-style European royalty. Pundits wonder what the hell is going on as brains go topsey turvey along with the global economy.
“It seems pretty obvious that we’ve lost our asses financially — at least based on all the bailouts and my 401k — and it’s looking pretty obvious that we’ve lost our minds as well, at least based on reports in the major media about how folks are behaving nowadays,” said Roger Reddy-Maebee, a professional manager who tries to be prepared for anything, but has been struggling mightily in the current U.S. business climate. “Employment for witches is climbing while jobs in finance and manufacturing are falling; skinny chicks are turning off people in a culture weighed down by obesity, and typically understated and demure Asian women are dressing like over-the-top European princesses. I guess if you don’t know which way to turn, you spin in circles until you’re dizzy and then start doing goofy stuff. I don’t know whether to laugh and call it fun or shit and go blind. I guess I don’t know what to do myself.”
Not everyone is worried by the current trends in finance or society. “In times of duress you need to take action that is different than what they have been, in order to establish a new equilibrium in both society and finance,” said Fred Linda Biswitch, the secret cross-dressing CEO of a major U.S. corporation, currently trying to be all things to everyone as long as they can get more government bailout cash. “Normally I’m a capitalist in the most rigorist sense and I don’t give a rip about anyone and want to crush all competition by being dominant across all service categories. Today I have a new outlook for our financial service company and understand how critical its existence is to workers and poor bastards who have invested their life’s savings in our organization, and I know that the federal government must bail us out for the good of all humankind. That and I haven’t received all ten million in bonus cash I’ve got coming to me for the great job I’ve been doing. Like my chiffon top? You don’t see many that look like a Dallas Cowboys jersey do you?”
The Local reported that an enterprising Swedish company seeking to hire 20 witches has provided a welcome break in the country’s otherwise steady flow of dismal employment news. Häxriket i Norden, based in Åhus in southern Sweden, is currently seeking to place five witches each in four separate locations around the country, the Skånska Dagbladet newspaper reports. According to the company’s advertisement on a listing maintained by Sweden’s Public Employment Agency, qualified candidates should be well-versed in “contact with the other side, runes, tarots, crystals, herbs, rituals, exorcism, meditation, personal coaching, and more”.
The Telegraph reported that researchers have found that skinny models are actually a turn off to consumers in TV commercials and other advertising. In the study psychologist Phillippa Diedrichs, of the University of Queensland, Australia, created a series of ads for underwear, shampoo and a party dress. Researchers found that images of super-thin models carry no edge in encouraging young women to buy and for the majority of adult women ads showing skinny girls actually discouraged sales. So-called plus-size models, on the other hand, actually encouraged them to buy.
The Wall Street Journal reported that when Mayumi Yamamoto goes out for coffee or window shopping, she likes to look as though she’s going to a formal garden party. One day recently, she was decked out in a frilly, rose-patterned dress, matching pink heels with a ribbon and a huge pink bow atop her long hair, dyed brown and in pre-Raphaelite curls. Ms. Yamamoto is a hime gyaru, or princess girl, a growing new tribe of Japanese women who aim to look like sugarcoated, 21st-century versions of old-style European royalty. They idolize Marie Antoinette and Paris Hilton, for her baby-doll looks and princess lifestyle. They speak in soft, chirpy voices and flock to specialized boutiques with names like Jesus Diamante, which looks like a bedroom in a European chateau. There, some hime girls spend more than $1,000 for an outfit including a satin dress, parasol and rhinestone-studded handbag. The princess boom is seen as a more polished and sophisticated look that’s popular among working women in their 20s and 30s, perhaps as a bit of escapism from workaday stress and economic uncertainty.
Some people say that if pretending you’re a princess or Swedish witch makes you feel good about current financial trends and helps you forget about Somoli pirates, Al Qaeda and your 401k, then have at it.
“The day after we elected a first-term Senator and community organizer the president of the United States, I was feeling pretty glum, but then I started dressing like a princess and signed up to be a Swedish witch. Damn I feel good about myself now,” said Betty “Ursula” Bombaske, a former senior investment advisor at a major U.S. firm, now juggling cash and debt the way Bill Clinton does reality. “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing but what’s new about that? At least the transition from my work in finance to witchcraft was smooth. And I’m still hot. At least I feel that way about myself and in this market that’s about the best you can hope for.”
In other news, Australia’s News Limited reported Friday, that a 61-year-old Northern Territory man stood naked in his back yard and bravely used a garden hose to fight off a teenage intruder. Walter Mayer was having a shower at his Tennant Creek home when he heard his roof being pelted with rocks. When he raced out to see what it was, he could hear his back screen door being rattled. He grabbed his garden hose and sprayed the intruder, and when the 20m-long hose could not be extended any longer, he chased the youth down the street in nothing but his birthday suit. Mr. Mayer – a fit and healthy TV repairman – said his actions were not brave. “It was quite foolish when you sit and think about it now,” he said. No word on whether he thinks dressing like a European princess or pretending you’re a Swedish witch is foolish, but in today’s world I guess you do what works for you.
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